Weve, the mobile commerce joint venture between the UK’s three largest mobile operators, aims to generate revenue of £1 billion in five years. The figure was given out by interim chief executive Nancy Cruickshank in an interview with the Financial Times.
The interview with Cruickshank confirms what became apparent last week – that Weve’s business model is more about leveraging customer data for mobile advertising and marketing rather than seeing itself as a payments business based on NFC.
The aim is to use subscriber data to offer tailored news and applications as well as targeting users with third-party advertising, marketing and offers.
This kind of model raises privacy questions. Cruickshank says the approach will be “opt-in”, whereby subscribers have to actively choose to participate rather than being included on a default basis.
Such strategies have traditionally had less take-up than opt-out services, although the operators claim that 15 million customers have effectively agreed to accept Weve services by virtue of signing up for existing services such as shareholder O2’s Priority Moments.
The group will also “develop mobile technologies that will enable transactions to be carried out on a mobile phone through installed credit and debit cards”, although Cruickshank does not elaborate further on what sounds like a mobile wallet. How that fits with the wallet plans of Weve’s shareholders (O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere) is unclear.
Cruickshank’s own background confirms the thrust of Weve’s strategy. The FT interview describes her as the veteran of several successful dotcom start-ups. Actually she was previously executive director of digital development with the Telegraph Media Group and a former chief executive of Videojug, a how-to video website.
Her Linked In profile describes current employers as Everything Everywhere and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the UK advertising firm, in addition to her being the founder of MyShowcase.com